Thursday, March 21, 2013

Trans-Mississippi Confederate Flags

It has been several years since I highlighted trans-Mississippi Confederate battle flags, and I thought this would be a good time to revisit the topic. Since my last posting on the topic there have been no major publications on the subject, so I’ll revisit some old favorites. The Battle Flags Of The Confederate Army of Tennessee by Howard Michael Madaus and Robert D. Needham (1976) is a classic that discusses a number of flags from trans-Mississippi States, however, it is a scarce item and will set you back several hundred dollars if you locate a copy. Alan K. Sumrall’s Battle Flags of Texans In The Confederacy (1995) is the most important book on its topic, and is full of color illustrations by the author. Glenn Dedmondt’s The Flags of Civil War Arkansas (2009) and The Flags of Civil War Missouri (2009) are informative and still easy to acquire.
In addition to books, the following websites are also useful:

Confederate Memorial Hall: I’m hoping to visit this museum some day in part because they have 140 Civil War flags in their collection. Images of six of these flags are on their website.

Missouri State Museum: Their website includes photographs of Civil War battle flags in their collection and links to information about conservation, including a three-minute video.

Old State House Museum: The next time I trek to Little Rock, Arkansas, I’m planning to visit this museum.  Many photographs of Civil War flags from their collection are on the website, and there is a link to a video by Greg Biggs.

Texas Division UnitedDaughters of the Confederacy: This group owns a number of Civil War flags, and a complete list of their holdings are on their website. Some of the flags are on display at the Texas Civil War Museum in Fort Worth.


  1. There was quite a variety of flags in the Trnas-Miss. Strange that the recent growth in books on the area hasn't led to new works on vexillology.

  2. Yes, it's disappointing that there have been no significant new vexillology books. I'm assuming that these types of books would be fairly expensive to produce, and perhaps that is one reason why more work hasn't been done in that area.

  3. Thanks for this. McCulloch's Brigade at Milliken's Bend, La. June 7, 1863, part of Walker's Texas Division, supposedly went into battle there with a "no quarter" flag, with a skull and crossbones or coffin and crossbones. I don't really believe it, but more than one Yankee officer claimed to have seen it "indistinctly" in the battle haze. The defenders were black troops, and supposedly the charging Rebels also yelled out "no quarters to the officers but spare the [blacks]". I am still persistently curious about the possibility that such a flag did exist, though. I have seen some Kansas territorial flags during the Bleeding Kansas era expressing similar sentiments, and the Texas State Library and Archives Commission has one tattered banner bearing a black cross on top of the St. Andrew's cross, purpose or intent of black cross not known but they speculate it could be mourning. I could see it potentially as a makeshift "no quarter" - if such was true. Given the supply situation in the Trans-Miss. I don't really put much faith in it being true, but it is one of those tantalizing persistent puzzles that makes me wonder, just a bit...
    Anyone hear of such? (in general or specifically?)

  4. My first book (a revision of my dissertation) was a study of the 28th Texas Cavalry (dismounted) that served in Randal's brigade. I recall reading about the possibility of a "no quarter" flag. Not sure I really quite go for that either. It has been a long time since I looked at sources for Milliken's Bend--when did Confederate soldiers learn that there were African-American soldiers at Milliken's Bend? Did they know well before the battle? I'd wonder too about materials available to create a flag, but as you point out one could have been modified. An interesting puzzle!